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ARC Home > Projects > Wildlife :
Africa

Wildlife and Forests: Africa

Christian, Hindu and Muslim faith leaders pray together around the charred remains of illegally-poached elephant tusks destroyed by the authorities in Nairobi National Park, Kenya (photo: James Morgan)

In September 2012 ARC organised the 'Many Heavens, One Earth, Our Continent' conference in Nairobi, Kenya. This event marked the commitment by 27 different Christian, Hindu and Muslim faith groups from sub-Saharan Africa to long-term environmental plans, including the protection of wildlife. The meeting was joined by Dekila Chungyalpa, director of the WWF 'Sacred Earth' Programme, and a press conference was held to announce a historic partnership between ATC, WWF and the 50 religious leaders in attendance. Through education, awareness-raising and action the partnership aims to counter the trade in illegally killed wild animals that threatens many species, including elephants and rhinoceroses, across sub-Saharan Africa.

Ms Chungyalpa acknowledged that halting the wildlife trade was a moral issue and thus that religious leaders, as the backbone of local communities, provided guidance that shape how people live their lives. She was very clear about the significance of the new partnership with faith groups: "Having religious leaders from all major faiths come together to call for the protection of wildlife on religious grounds and urge their congregations to view the slaughter of elephants and rhinos in Africa as a serious crime may turn the tide of the disaster we face today.”

Giraffes graze in the Nairobi National Park with the city skyline behind them (photo: James Morgan)
Following the announcement in Nairobi and with ARC's ongoing support, faith groups serving communities in WWF wildlife trade priority areas - specifically Tanzania, Cameroon and Kenya - are now establishing formal partnerships with secular conservation groups such as WWF US and the Jane Goodall Institute.  Practical plans are currently being developed to encourage the faith communities to speak out and to educate about the issues and to protect endangered species from the illegal wildlife trade.


WWF video about Sacred Earth



In this short video Dekila Chungyalpa explains the significance of engaging with faith groups for preserving biodiiversity.


Press release from WWF about the partnership with ARC and African religious leaders

NBC news service report on the partnership, including a short video on the use of illegal ivory in making religious statues

African Faith Groups - long-term commitments

WWF Sacred Earth Programme


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Related information

African Faith Commitments
Christian, Muslim and Hindu faith groups in sub-Saharan Africa have developed long-term faith commitments to protect the living planet. These range from planting millions of trees, engaging in environmental education programmes and mobilising their communities to manage land and water sustainably.
September 26 2012:
African religious leaders join forces to help stop illegal wildlife trade
An historic partnership between the WWF, ARC and 50 faith leaders from sub-Saharan Africa has been launched to combat the illegal trade in wildlife which is devastating target species.
Secular Partners
ARC is a broker between faiths and secular organisations wanting to work with faiths on environment programmes.